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Respecting Those with Development Disabilities

Words carry weight, and the words and phrases people use can uplight as well as tear down. They can enlighten, and they can stereotype. Although it is common to use labels when describing certain things, labels applied to a person or a group of people detracts from the person’s true identity. Those with development disabilities in New Bedford, MA are people like anyone else. They have hopes and dreams and fears and desires.

People with developmental disabilities are people first. It is true that their disability is a part of their life, it does not sum up their existence. When speaking to or about someone with a person, it is important to use language properly. They should not be called “a disabled person,” but rather “A person with a disability.” As such, do not group individuals into one all-encompassing category like “the developmentally disabled.” This language puts the attention on the disability and to the person.

Another abuse of language is in positive sterotyping those with development disabilities in New Bedford, MA. Terms such as ‘inspirational’ and ‘courageous’ are just as stereotypical as ‘hopeless’ and ‘pitiful.’ People with disabilities are still just people with a spectrum of emotions and capabilities no different than people without disabilities.

More subtle but just as harmful that outright stereotypical words are phrases meant to frame a person with development disabilities in New Bradford MA. Saying things like, “In spite of his disabilities, he was able to …” People with disabilities do not overcome or succeed their disabilities as much as they do a society which discriminates against them.

Actions are just as important as words. How people interact with others who have development disabilities in New Bradford, MA is critically important. They should be treated as equals and should be regarded just as you would: with respect, with dignity and with kindness. Don’t focus on the person’s disability to the point where you miss the person. Pay attention to that person’s strengths as well. It is okay to ask questions, even those you may think are dumb. Listen to what the person has to say and conduct yourself in a mature and dignified manner. If the person is using an interpreter or a computer to communicate, it is important to speak to the person with the disability, not the aide.

How to treat people with development disabilities in New Bedford, MA? Get in touch with Better Community Living, Inc. for more information about development disabilities.

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